Post Office strike hurting grant beneficiaries

2018-07-18 06:02

THOUSANDS of workers at the South African Post Office (SAPO) and Telkom downed tools on July 6 to demand higher wages.

They are affiliated to three unions — the Communication Workers’, Customs and Democratic Postal and Communications unions, GroundUp reported.

The workers are demanding a 12% increase, but SAPO insists it can only afford an across-the-board salary increase of six percent for all employees from August 1.

The strike has left hundreds of social grant beneficiaries stranded. In Pietermaritzburg, beneficiaries were seen standing in snaking lines outside the Post Office in Langalibalele Street.

Nomzamo Khuse from Sweet­water had been standing in line since 5 am, she said: “When we came, the doors were closed. The employees told us they cannot help us. They said they have

embarked on a strike. It’s clear that we will go home without being paid.”

A Post Office employee who asked not to be named, said staff became upset because they have not received a pay increase in three years.

“There is an overload of work. We work overtime but we are not paid well.

“The work is strenuous since we are working with the beneficiaries.

“We open at 5 am and go home at 8.30 pm. It’s more work but less money.”

Another Post Office employee, Jabulani Mtungwa, said: “We now service many people. That is a challenge. They need to improve the systems. They make working very difficult. We love our jobs but there are challenges ...”

In a statement issued on July 6, SAPO urged beneficiaries affected by the strike to withdraw their grants at ATMs and other retail stores.

SAPO will be returning to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) with union representatives on Monday.

The strike is expected to continue this week, says provincial secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union, Thami Mzileni.

On Sunday, Mzileni told GroundUp that workers were planning to “shut down the CBD” on July 13, with MTN employees also expected to join the action this week.

This comes as SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) employees affiliated to the Public Servants’ Association (PSA) are expected to head back to the negotiation table with the agency.

— GroundUp.

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